High cholesterol may seem harmless, as there are no signs or symptoms, but left unchecked this condition can be dangerous.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, up to 38% of Americans have high cholesterol, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke. While some people inherit high cholesterol, it’s often a result of lifestyle choices.
Smoking, drinking alcohol, eating an unhealthy diet, and having a sedentary lifestyle can all increase your risk for high cholesterol. Taking action and changing your habits is often the first line of defense to lowering cholesterol naturally. If lifestyle changes alone don’t lower your cholesterol enough, your doctor may recommend medication to keep it in a safe zone.
Fortunately, you can help lower your cholesterol with your first meal of the day. Dietitians recommend that you avoid these four worst breakfast habits if you have high cholesterol. Read on to learn more, and to continue to eat healthily, don’t miss these Eating Habits You Must Follow If High Cholesterol Runs In Your Family.
You roll out of bed, throw on some clothes, and run out the door. Who has time to make anything in the morning, let alone eat it? Skipping breakfast does more than lead to ravenous mid-morning food cravings—it could also raise your cholesterol levels.
“Eating breakfast has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol (our bad cholesterol),” says Kathryn Piper RDN, LD, NBC-HWC of The Age-Defying Dietitian. In a 2020 meta-analysis, researchers found that the LDL cholesterol of people who skipped breakfast was an average of 9.24 mg/dL higher than those who started their day with a meal.
And, no– coffee doesn’t count as breakfast. Patricia Kolesa, MS, RDN, recommends having a small snack like a yogurt parfait or overnight oats with your coffee if the idea of a big meal first thing in the morning doesn’t appeal to you.
If carbohydrates are stealing the show at breakfast, you could be missing out on an essential nutrient: protein.
“Stabilizing your blood sugar keeps you fuller for longer, prevents random and late-night snacking, and supports healthy cholesterol levels by nourishing your adrenals and thyroid hormones,” says Lacey Dunn, MS, RD, LD, CPT, author of The Women’s Guide to Hormonal Harmony and owner of Nourish Well Nutrition.
Traditional breakfast foods tend to be carb-heavy: toast, oatmeal, pancakes, fruit, yogurt, waffles… but there are plenty of opportunities to fit in a serving or two of protein.
Add eggs or egg whites to toast, stir collagen powder in your coffee, sprinkle protein powder over your oatmeal, or whip up a turkey breast scramble to support healthy cholesterol levels, encourages Dunn.
“Choosing breakfast foods high in refined carbohydrates is one of the worst things you can do for your cholesterol, and one of the easiest traps to fall into, as so many popular breakfast items fit this bill,” says Sharon Puello, MA, RD, CDN, CDCES.